Twins Elexis Wiederhold and Ciara McGee

Twins go from Ashland University to working together at Wilmington City Schools

Published on March 14, 2024
Ashland University

Twins Elexis Wiederhold and Ciara McGee both played soccer, were cheerleaders, performed in show choir and participated in theater at Wilmington High School.

They each attended Ashland University, where they were RAs, majored in early childhood education/early childhood intervention and belonged to the same sorority, The Well and FCA.

And now they work together as preschool intervention specialists at East End Elementary School in the Wilmington City Schools (WCS); attend the same church, where they are both on the praise and worship team and in the same small group; and like to travel together with their husbands, who are close friends and married the sisters just a few months apart.   

“There are honestly very few, if any things, that we don’t do together,” McGee said.

Youth ministry – one serves middle schoolers and the other toddlers – might be the one thing they don’t do together, but it’s still at the same church.

Originally, they were hired by WCS to work in separate buildings.

“I was originally hired as a K-2 intervention specialist within the same district at another elementary school and accepted the position,” Wiederhold said. “Ciara was hired as a preschool intervention specialist and, when a second position became available, they contacted me and asked if I had any interest. My response? ‘I would absolutely love the position, and an opportunity to work with one of the best co-workers in the world.’ The rest is history.”

“It was totally God’s timing and a blessing for sure,” McGee said.

Growing up, the twin sisters, whose maiden names are Murdock, both wanted to be teachers.

“We have wanted to be teachers since first grade,” Wiederhold said. “We grew up playing school and forcing our (three) little brothers to be our students. We wanted our bedroom to be a classroom, and even asked for an overhead projector and student mailboxes for Christmas one year.

“One of our best friends had parents who were teachers, and she had both of those things,” Wiederhold added. “We thought that was just the coolest.”

They carried that passion for teaching to Ashland University after graduating from Wilmington High School in 2011.

“Our parents both work at Wilmington College, so we wanted to move away, but be close enough to come home when we wanted,” Wiederhold said. “We have family near Mansfield, and Ashland is similar to Wilmington, so it seemed like a good fit. When we visited, we loved it and couldn’t wait to start school.”

And they loved every minute of their college experience.

“I loved how small/big AU was – smaller class sizes but tons of opportunities,” McGee said. “It was only a few hours from home, and it was just a great experience.

“My favorite memories from AU were just the friends that I made and the experiences I had,” McGee added. “My sorority sisters are still my very best friends. I loved all of my education professors; they were like family to me. I loved everything about my time at AU.”

“My experience at AU was absolutely wonderful,” Wiederhold said. “I think often about how fast those four years flew by, and I couldn’t be grateful for the people I met, the friendships I made and the doors that were opened for me as a result.

“The opportunities on and off campus were second to none,” Wiederhold added. “The professors that I had the privilege to learn from were incredible. Ashland felt like home away from home.”

Twins Ciara McGee and Elexis Wiederhold at their AU graduation ceremony

The 2015 AU grads both gravitated toward special education for young students the more time they spent studying education at Ashland.

“I enjoy teaching in an integrated setting where neurotypical students work alongside students with special needs and both have the opportunity to learn from each other,” McGee said. “There is nothing like watching students finally reach a goal and make progress socially, as well as academically.”

“I love seeing students grow throughout the years,” Wiederhold said, “watching them learn to overcome challenges and helping them identify and celebrate their strengths. Just getting to be a small part of their success story is the very best part of being an intervention specialist.”

Of course, the sisters also enjoy working together.  

“There are a million reasons why I love working with my sister,” McGee said. “She is right next door and we have always been super close. It is fun getting to collaborate and work together every day. I love planning together and problem-solving with our entire team, but having my sister part of that team is extra special.”

“Imagine having your best friend at work with you each day,” Wiederhold said. “There is absolutely nothing like it. We are able to plan and problem-solve together. Sometimes it feels like we share a brain. We get to celebrate each other’s big wins and are there to support each other on the challenging days.”

Any chance of – gasp! – ever not working together.

“I hope not,” Wiederhold said. “We are a package deal if we ever decide to leave.”

“Anything is possible,” McGee said, “but we do joke that we are a ‘package deal’ even if we ever were to work or move to a different district. We love our community kids and enjoy giving back to the students in our hometown specifically.”